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These news clips on global space news are provided by the Coalition for Space Exploration for distribution by the Space Foundation to our constituents. You can also subscribe to receive a daily email version.

CSExtra – Top Space News for Friday, March 28, 2014

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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden fields Congressional questioning over U.S. human space launch strategies, future plans to explore an asteroid, Mars.  Proposed 2015 NASA budget leaves fate of long lived Mars Opportunity rover in doubt. Advanced technology Space Launch System heavy lift rocket fuel tank reaches Marshall Space Flight Center for testing. Europe establishes a terrestrial “Mars Yard” for testing of future planetary rover. U.S., Russian crew reaches International Space Station late Thursday, though two days late. Fire damage to Cape Canaveral, Fla., military radar tracking facility leaves U.S. East Coast launches on hold. Boeing’s X-37B setting records for marathon classified orbital mission. Missing Malaysian jetliner puts spotlight on Earth orbiting satellites. Shuttle Columbia loss underpins Congressional skepticism over NASA Commercial Crew Program safety. SpaceX explains Falcon 9 launch cost structure.

NASA 2015 Budget

Bolden, lawmakers point fingers about state of U.S. human spaceflight

Space News (3/27): Congressional hearing on NASA’s $17.5 billion 2015 budget request Thursday includes a reminder from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden that underfunding for the Commercial Crew Program has delayed initiation of a new U.S. human launch capability by two years — 2017 at earliest, rather than 2015; U.S. human launches interrupted by 2011 space shuttle retirement.

Bolden reassures on ISS, defends ARM, and insists on Commercial Crew (3/28): In hearing before the U.S. House Space Subcommittee on Thursday, NASA Administrator links future of U.S. human spaceflight to fate of International Space Station and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program initiative to establish competing companies able to transport NASA astronauts to and from the space station. “Bolden argued that without ISS, medical research and technology development required before — sending humans into deep space would not be possible.  If there is no ISS, he asserted, there is no need for SLS or Orion,” according to the report. NASA is developing the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and Orion crew vehicle to start U.S. explorers on future missions of deep space exploration.

A report from the first hearing on the 2015 NASA budget

The Planetary Society (3/27): NASA’s year old Asteroid Redirect Mission concept faces broad bipartisan criticism from U.S. House Space Subcommittee, with legislators saying ARM has been slow to establish a specific destination, a timeline and budget. ARM components are an essential part of an eventual human Mars mission, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden informs the panel.

Human Deep Space Exploration

NASA unloads composite rocket tank of tomorrow from legendary Super Guppy for tests in Alabama

Huntsville Times (3/27): Composite fuel tank for NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket reaches NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Thursday. Developed by Boeing from lightweight materials, the tank was flown by NASA from the Seattle area to Alabama for testing. The tank design is for the upper stage of the SLS, a rocket designed to start U.S. astronauts on future missions of deep space exploration.

Unmanned Deep Space Exploration

Could NASA’s 2015 budget leave Mars rover Opportunity high and dry?

Los Angeles Times (3/27): After 10 years on Mars, Opportunity may be in budget jeopardy.

Scientists create a mini Mars on Earth

CNN (3/27): Near London, engineers with Airbus Defence and Space establish a Mars Yard to test rovers and other components associated with the European Space Agency’s upcoming Exo-Mars missions. A 2016 mission includes a lander and a 2018 flight features a Mars rover.

Low Earth Orbit

Soyuz docks with International Space Station (3/27): Two days later than planned, Russian Soyuz crew transport capsule delivers three U.S. and Russian astronauts to the International Space Station. Docking occurs Thursday at 7:53 p.m., EDT.

Soyuz makes belated but safe Space Station docking (3/27): Soyuz crew members Alexander Skvortsov, Oleg Artemyev and NASA astronaut Steven Swanson reach International Space Station on Thursday at 7:53 p.m., EDT, two days later than planned because of missed post-launch rendezvous maneuver.

Radar repairs at Cape could delay launches 3 weeks

Florida Today (3/28): Repairs to electrical damage at U.S. Air Force rocket tracking installation in Central Florida may delay U.S. East Coast launches well into April.

U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane shatters orbital endurance record (3/27): U.S. Air Force unpiloted reusable X-37B space plane flies into record territory — 470 days and counting on secret mission.

More than 1,000 satellites are flying overhead

Associated Press via Washington Post (3/27): Search for missing Malaysian jetliner and the 239 aboard spotlights Earth orbiting satellites. A look at the lineup: about 1,100 functional spacecraft circle.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

NASA operates in the shadow of Columbia

Aviation Week & Space Technology (3/26): Congress is proving difficult to convince when it comes to supporting NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Many recall the risks of space flight exposed with the loss of the shuttle orbiters Columbia and Challenger in 2003 and 1986, according to the report. Is commercial space flight safe?

SpaceX says requirements, not markup, make government missions more costly

Space News and the (3/27): SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell explains Falcon 9 pricing differences for commercial clients, the U.S. military and NASA. “It’s more expensive to do these missions,” she said of U.S. government launches compared to commercial missions. “The Air Force asks for more stuff. The missions we do for NASA under the [NASA Launch Services] contract are also more expensive because NASA asks to do more analysis.” The company’s prices range from $60 million for a commercial client and $10 million to $30 million more for U.S. military and NASA missions, according to the report.

Brought to you by the Coalition for Space Exploration, CSExtra is a daily compilation of space industry news selected from hundreds of online media resources.  The Coalition is not the author or reporter of any of the stories appearing in CSExtra and does not control and is not responsible for the content of any of these stories.  The content available through CSExtra contains links to other websites and domains which are wholly independent of the Coalition, and the Coalition makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such site or domain and does not pre-screen or approve any content.   The Coalition does not endorse or receive any type of compensation from the included media outlets and is not responsible or liable in any way for any content of CSExtra or for any loss, damage or injury incurred as a result of any content appearing in CSExtra.  For information on the Coalition, visit or contact us via e-mail at [email protected].


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